Tuesday 24 June 2014

South Plaza Island - Small and Mighty

South Plaza Sunrise Seen from the Panga
South Plaza is visited by many travelers who choose a cruise for their vacation to the Galapagos Islands. I've noticed that passengers might question what they can possibly experience here because as the cruise ship approaches South Plaza Island, they are likely to be a little underwhelmed by its size. After all its total area is just .08 square miles and at its highest point just 82 feet above sea level. (That's .13 km in area and 23 meters in altitude.)  But, I assure them that they will most certainly not be disappointed. South Plaza is beautiful and intriguing in every season. And it is teeming with colors, marine birds and, not surprisingly, sea lions.
Tuesday 17 June 2014

Isle Lobos - One of San Cristobal's Most Appealing Attractions

Every day in Galapagos is an adventure and when you stay on San Cristobal Island, all you have to do is jump on a boat and in minutes you are at some of the best visitor sites in Galapagos.  One of my favorites, full of adventure and endemic wild life, is Isle Lobos.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Tortoise World-Wide Celebration

We all love our Galapagos Tortoises.  I've already told you a lot about Lonesome George, the most famous tortoise ever, not only in Galapagos, but around the world.  And, if you've been following the Galapagos Eco-Lodge blog, you know that in Galapagos preservation of these marvelous and unique reptiles is a huge priority of the Charles Darwin Foundation.

But, it turns out that our Galapagos tortoises are not the only celebrated tortoises - not at all.  In fact, May 23, 2014 was actually the 14th celebration of international "World Turtle Day."  The day was dedicated to educating people about tortoises, turtles and worldwide conversation and preservation efforts.

The day is sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue, a non-profit organization with the mission to protect all species of tortoise and turtle. ATR has placed about 3000 tortoises in caring homes.

Before sharing some fabulous reptile photos with you, I want to take just a moment to tell you the major distinctions between tortoises and turtles.  A tortoise lives on the land, eats bushes, vegetation, grass, and cacti. Their feet have adapted for land mobility; thus they have heavily padded feet, instead of webs. Turtles, in contrast, live most of their life in the water, and have webbed feet for swimming. They stay in the water, like our green sea turtles, except when they come to shore to lay eggs or for a brief bask in the sun.

Some interesting facts:

Turtles can be tiny like this little Bog Turtle (photo courtesy of U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and popsci.com/article/science/its-world-turtle-day):

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Let's Save the Endangered Galapagos Mangrove Finch

Mangrove Finch from Save Our Species
Charles Darwin, on his well known and documented voyage to the Galapagos Islands, identified 16 species of finches.  These finches provided the underpinnings for his theory that species evolve to suit their environment.

Now, throughout Galapagos, there are only 15 species remaining, the rest having become extinct.

Medium Ground Finch, Kookr Flickr Creative Commons
In a recent post I told you how scientists are working with Galapagos finches to save them from an invading parasite.  Other scientists are doing work to save the Mangrove Finch, also nearing extinction and on the endangered species list.